If you have children over the age of two, chances are you are finding limiting screen time a challenge. By “screen time” I’m referring to time spent in front of the TV, computer, I-pad and so on. The general guideline is that kids should spend no more than an hour or two a day in front of a screen. However limiting screen time for children is easier said than done, and this article contains some helpful parenting tips to help.
Parenting Tips To Keep Your Child Busy
One of the most helpful techniques I’ve used in limiting screen time for my children is to keep them busy in other ways. How to do this?
Give Your Child A To-Do List For Limiting Screen Time
- getting dressed (or changed out of school clothes)
- doing homework
- having some outdoor playing time (if the weather is appropriate)
- brushing teeth
- cleaning her room
- feeding the pets
- practicing for any extra-curricular activities such as music or sports
…and anything else you can think of to prolong screen time!
Encourage Play-Days With Friends
In a world where so many people are more interested in interacting with a screen than another human being, it’s important to encourage good old-fashioned play days with friends. Allow your child to invite their friends over after school, and ban screen-time. Your child and her friend will come up with other fun activities to keep them occupied.
Parenting Tips To Encourage Reading
Let your child choose what books they want to read as regardless of what they are reading, this will help improve their spelling, writing and comprehension skills. If you child has run out of new books to read at home and doesn’t want to read an old one, take her to the local library to discover a whole new world of fun!
Parenting Tips To Encourage Playtime With Toys
Remind your child of the toys she has by rotating them every few months, no doubt with so many toys stuffed in a toy box she probably will have forgotten what she even has! If you have close friends and/or family with kids of a similar age, you can create a win/win situation by swapping toys for a few months. This means all the kids get a whole new set of toys to play with at no cost to you or your friends.
Parenting Tips To Encourage Imaginative Games
One of the wonderful things about childen is their imagination, and how they can use it in free play situations. When your child is in front of a screen they are much less likely to use the imaginative part of their brain. However put them in a room without screens and don’t give them anything to do, and before long they’ll be using their imagination to come up with something fun to do. Why not give it a try?
Limiting Screen Time With Craft Activities
Encourage your child to engage in craft activities where they can use their imagination to create things, or just do some colouring in. Kids shows like Mister Maker can be helpful in creating cool ideas your child can then put into action.
Setting up a basic tent using chairs and blankets creates a fun place for craft activities or for your kids to play or read in.
Parenting Tips To Encourage Physical Activity
If you an afford it, extra-curricular physical activities are a great way of helping your child burn up all of that physical energy inside of them. Sports that are particularly good for their development include team sports, martial arts and swimming, but really any physical activity is generally a good thing. Of course while your child is active in this way they are not thinking about playing computer games or watching TV.
Limiting Screen Time With Free Physical Activities
Physical activities like walking the dog around the block or to the park are a great way to get out and about – and your dog will thank you for it too! Riding a bike is always good fun too. Local parks are a great place for your kids to play and use up some of that energy burning inside of them, and in Australia especially we are blessed with so many great recreational areas to play in.
Parenting Tips For Helpful Jobs Your Child Can Do At Home
Most children naturally like to help Mum and Dad at home from a very young age, so the trick is finding tasks that they can do safely and easily. This empowers them and makes your life that little bit easier at the same time.
One job they can help with daily is dinner. Encourage your child to help you prepare dinner each night by:
- putting vegetables in saucepans or fry pans to cook
- taking food out of the fridge, freezer or cupboard
- throwing vegetable peelings in the bin (or compost)
- setting the table
…and anything else that’s safe for them to do that you can think of!
Limiting Screen Time For Older Children
As your child grows older they may be even more inclined to spend all their free time in front of a computer screen of some sort, and limiting screen time becomes more and more challenging. Some screen time is unavoidable and it’s not a bad thing in moderation.
Parenting Tips For Allowing Screen Time
Monitor what it is your child is watching or playing as much as possible, and have regular conversations with your child about what they are watching and doing. There are lots of great computer games where kids can learn new skills and information, however there are also lots of computer games that are not ideal for them. Similarly there are some great educational and fun kids shows on TV mixed in with some not-so-great shows!
We all know how tempting it can be when you have a child to sit them in front of the TV or computer for long periods of time while you get on with other chores and daily activities. A screen can keep your child quiet for hours, which buys you invaluable time to get things done. However as a responsible parent you do need to be limiting screen time to an extent. Hopefully when implemented you will find the parenting tips in this article helpful in creating a healthy lifestyle for your child.
You can find more helpful tips on limiting screen time for your kids right here.